THE ALL-TIME BUCCANEER TEAM After 42 seasons, enough time has passed to produce an all-time Buccaneer team. Not just starters but a full 53- man roster of the best players to have worn the Tampa Bay colours in the NFL.    The 53 includes special teamers, specialists and the need for rotational and back-up players.  Some selections were obvious, others perhaps a little controversial but that is what off-season articles are for.  And you have to take into consideration the eras that each player appeared in. Comparing a receiver or a QB rating from the modern game to that of the 1980s is not realistic. Now we move on to the linebackers, a position that has always been one of strength in Buccaneers annals.  The first two selections were slam dunk certainties, Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson.   Brooks of course is in the Hall of Fame, the Ring of Honor and the top three of all- time Buccaneer players.  Nickerson remains the best free agent signing in team history given his performance and what he brought to the team with his attitude and work ethic. Lavonte David’s play during his six seasons in Tampa has been superb and perhaps more deserving of NFL recognition than he has received.  But he is a definite selection for our team along with one of the stalwarts of the early Buccaneer teams, Richard “Batman” Wood.   He arrived in the expansion season in a trade with the Jets and proceeded to start every game over the following five seasons.   To play in the moden NFL, he might have to lose the famous Batman logos that adorned his elbow pads however. Hugh Green was a top draft pick in 1981 who twice made the Pro Bowl and was one of the best players on the early 1980s Tampa defenses.  He fell out of favour in 1985 having been critical of the then-coaching staff, understandable really in hindsight and was traded to Miami for a pair of top draft picks but his career never reached his early stellar heights.   Shelton Quarles has to make this team for his play in the middle for the Super Bowl team and he was a cracking special teams player as well winning out over Kwon Alexander to back- up Nickerson on our team. The final spot was a little harder to determine.  Scot Brantley was a fan favourite in the 1980s, Broderick Thomas had a ton of tackles in the early 1990s but was a locker room disruption and Barrett Ruud had the most popular crowd chant when he made a play.   Cecil Johnson was another key part of the 1970s Tampa defenses and Ervin Randle was one of the hardest hitters ever to wear the orange colours.   But the final spot for the magnificent seven linebackers goes to David Lewis, a 2nd round pick in 1977 who started for four seasons and went to the Pro Bowl in 1980.  NEXT - THE RUNNING BACKS
QB DE QB DT QB DT RB DE RB DE RB DE RB DT FB DT TE LB Derrick Brooks TE LB Hardy Nickerson TE LB Lavonte David WR Mark Carrier LB Richard Wood WR Kevin House LB Hugh Green WR Mike Evans LB Shelton Quarles WR Vincent Jackson LB David Lewis WR Joey Galloway CB WR Keenan McCardell CB LT CB LG CB C FS RG SS RT S T S G KR OL PR K P SPEC